United Kingdom government vows to ban 'abhorrent' gay conversion therapy

Leroy Wright
July 5, 2018

The shocking figures reveal that a majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people fear being open about their relationship in public will trigger a negative reaction. "It is also deeply worrying that LGBT people experience difficulty accessing public services such as health care, and that so many are being offered the abhorrent practice of conversion therapy".

The survey found that LGBT people are less likely to be satisfied with their lives than other people in the country.

"Nobody should face persecution or discrimination because of who they are or who they love", May told a meeting of British Commonwealth leaders.

The survey - deemed to be the world's largest study of its kind - also found two in three gay people avoid holding each other's hands in public, while almost a quarter found people in their workplace reacted negatively to their sexuality.

It said: 'We will act so that LGBT people feel safe in their own homes and in their communities.

Paul Martin OBE, chief executive at LGBT Foundation, said: "LGBT people continue to face significant health inequalities and we welcome the government's commitment to tackling these through the appointment of an LGBT health adviser". The U.K. Council for Psychotherapy, a professional group, calls "conversion therapy" unethical and potentially harmful to those put through it.

The announcement of the new initiative, which coincides with Pride Week in London, will consider "legislative and non-legislative options to prohibit promoting, offering or conducting conversion therapy". "Unfortunately, this report does not commit to legislative change", said Dawn Butler MP, Labour's shadow minister for women and equalities.

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People identifying as transgender accounted for 13% of respondents.

The initiative arrives after the government released results of a survey of LGBT people to the public.

David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: "The LGBT Action Plan, and the money behind it, is a positive step in the government's commitment to improving LGBT rights".

A government-commissioned survey of over 100,000 LGBT people in Britain found that 2 percent had been through conversion therapy to "cure" their homosexuality, while 5 percent were offered such "treatment". And two in five LGBT people had experienced discrimination, such as verbal harassment, in the past year alone.

The action plan sets out 75 steps to help improve the lives of LGBT people. "We all have a part to play in creating a society where every lesbian, gay, bi and trans person is accepted without exception".

"After years of empty rhetoric and broken promises, we need to see concrete actions to show the government is serious about tackling the inequalities faced by LGBT+ communities".

Back in the United Kingdom, the gay conversion therapy ban is just the tip of the iceberg, and is part of a far-reaching effort to address homophobia in the nation. The Government Equalities Office will investigate whether the "Tell Us Once" service - which is now used to notify government departments of bereavements - can be learned from so that transgender people who are transitioning and want to update their name and gender across multiple departments only have to do so once.

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